Steve Childerhouse who is hosting our farm walk this autumn on Thursday October 15, tells us about his geese.
Our family farm is situated on the edge of Norfolk Breckland - the traditional home of geese in this country.
Whews Farm is a small family farm of around 50 acres, laid down to grass and woodland at Caston near Attleborough. The farm comprises of 600 fattening pigs and poultry.
The Great Grove Poultry enterpise was started about 20 years ago when four geese were raised on the farm meadow. A roadside sign saying ‘plucked geese’ was placed at the top of the farm drive and the birds sold quickly. The following year eight geese and 20 turkeys were raised and over the years the business expanded to where it is today, which is 9000 turkeys and 800 geese.
The turkeys arrive at the farm in mid June as day-old poults, two thirds are bronze and the other third are white. They are reared in sheds until around 8-10 weeks old when they are let out to free-range in woodland and on the grassland. They are left out 24/7 and have free access to barns for feed and water. The geese are started in the same way in sheds where we can gradually let them out during the day, but can be shut in at night for the first four weeks.
When ready for processing they are walked down the yard slowly and into the holding pen. The birds are processed in purpose built facilities where they are slaughtered, dry plucked and hung in large chillers in the old traditional way. From here they are then eviscerated and boxed before being delivered to butchers and farm shops as well as the general public coming to buy at the farmgate.
We have a strong emphasis on our own branding, and will carry on developing this further.
Steve Childerhouse with his goslings.